Can I Give Aspirin to a Dog?

It’s very tempting to give your dog the same medications that are manufactured for humans, especially when many of them seem so innocuous. Aspirin is one of the most widely used medications and people generally believe it is harmless because it is sold over-the-counter. While aspirin is probably safe for your pooch, don’t use it without knowing more about it or consulting your veterinarian.

Why Aspirin?

There are two possible reasons why you are thinking of giving your dog aspirin. Either your dog is in pain or your veterinarian has prescribed it as part of a regimen. If your veterinarian has prescribed it, then you have most likely been properly counseled on how the aspirin is to be administered.

If your dog is in sudden pain, don’t use aspirin as a first resort. The first step in any canine ailment would be to consult your vet first. Research the internet thoroughly, reading articles from many trusted sources that offer both the pros and cons.

Why is your dog in pain? Did he just have surgery or a procedure such as dental cleaning? Or did the pain seem to manifest out of the blue? Either way, do your due diligence before reaching for your aspirin bottle.

When a dog has surgery, vets often prescribe an opioid painkiller such as Tramadol. Make sure one of the bottles you’ve been given by the vet is not already a painkiller. Maybe the opioid is causing vomiting, therefore you are considering aspirin.

The Side-Effects of Using Aspirin

While aspirin may not harm your dog, there are stipulations that shouldn’t be ignored. The dosage is extremely important.

  • Get the dosage right – dogs can easily overdose on aspirin, causing irreparable harm to their organs.
  • Don’t use it for more than a week. Humans can use low-dose aspirin as part of their daily medication ritual but long-term use of aspirin would not be appropriate for dogs. It can damage their sensitive stomachs, and create ulcers in their stomach lining.
  • First talk to your vet who may have better options for pain management. The vet may have a non-opioid painkiller that has been manufactured expressly for dogs. Don’t give aspirin to your dog without approval from your vet!

How to Administer Aspirin

After you’ve received a go-ahead from your vet, keep these tips handy.

  • Buy a pill cutter. This is the only way to ensure you are giving the correct dose to your dog, especially if he is a petite pooch.
  • Don’t use coated tablets. Instead, pulverize an uncoated tablet (cut for the right dosage) into your dog’s food. This will help to prevent stomach irritation. Do not give them whole tablets under any circumstance.
  • Baby aspirin may be easier to work with as it is made for tiny humans. Still, you must double check the dosage – you may yet need to cut the pill.
  • Watch out for adverse reactions such as unsteadiness, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, or anything out of the norm.

We want the best for our dogs and we hate to see them in pain. Following recommended guidelines for administering aspirin to dogs will avoid any negative consequences that could possibly occur.

By Gabrielle Allemeier


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About the Author
Gabrielle Allemeier volunteers her free time as an animal rescuer and foster pet parent. As an animal lover, she enjoys sharing the knowledge she has gained from her experience with a variety of animals. Along with being an animal lover, Gabrielle is a globetrotter. She lives in Los Angeles, California with her terrier, Thisbe.